Disney is going to treat fans with another animated short! The House of Mouse has announced a brand new animated short, Us Again, which will premiere before Raya and the Last Dragon in theatres on 5 March 2021.
Written and directed by Big Hero 6 head of animation Zach Parrish, Walt Disney Animation has revealed an exclusive first look, and it will be the media conglomerate’s first theatrical short in five years. Us Again will also land on Disney+ in June.
Us Again tells the story of an elderly man named Art and his young-at-heart wife Dot who rekindle their zest for life through dance one magical night. The no dialogue short is told entirely through dance and a funk-and soul-infused score, composed by Captain Marvel fame Pinar Toprak.
The director also collaborated closely with dancers Keone and Mari Madrid, a real-life married couple who have worked with artists like Justin Bieber and Billie Eilish. Parrish expressed that the idea for Us Again stemmed from very personal origins. In his mid-30s, Parrish began feeling down about ageing and physical limitations after he found himself unable to play basketball, his favourite sport, as he could in his youth.
“It made me realize that if I spent all my time focused on what I thought I was missing, then I was going to miss the beauty in the present, and that really became the core idea. Us Again is hence, about the importance of being present,” he said.
Parrish was also deeply inspired by his grandparents’ different approaches to ageing and life, with one couple traversing the country in an RV, while the other set ‘watched life’. In fact, the names Art and Dot are tributes to his paternal grandparents -Arthur and Dorothy.
A longtime admirer of dance, Parrish wanted to blend the ideas of a fountain of youth, an elderly couple, and a world of dance. While he was developing these concepts, he was reminded of a viral video of Keone and Mari dancing as an older couple. Thus, they became part of his vision, and later, part of the movie.
“The story is something that Keone and I are really drawn to in movement, and we love to do that without words all the time so that’s why this intersection was so perfect. There’s something so magical, being able to bring that kind of relationship and make it physical and make it visual,” noted Mari.
Kreon too took to his social media handle to express his views. Elated he wrote, “Dream project announcement…There are so many levels to which my heart explodes with joy when thinking about this coming to life, particularly that we can watch this [with] our daughter…The Disney dork in us is floating on animated clouds above space mountain.”
Produced by Brad Simonsen (Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Ralph Breaks the Internet), Us Again is executive produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer Jennifer Lee.